North Cumberland Middle School physical education teacher Andrew Miller, left, and his fishing club students, who meet for classroom instruction one day a week, and go fishing at Stump Pond in Smithfield on weekends.
CUMBERLAND — Physical education teacher Andrew Miller has given students the unique opportunity to learn how to catch a fish while easing the stress of middle school life through a fishing club offered at North Cumberland Middle School.
In his second year leading the club, while also teaching physical education to students in grades 6 to 8, Miller said the turnout has been successful with around 25 kids involved, and around 15-18 showing up on weekends to participate in the actual act of fishing.
Miller, who has been an avid fisherman his entire life, works as a commercial fisherman in Massachusetts during the summer, and said when he brought up the idea to NCMS Principal Bethany Coughlin, he thought it would be a great way to get kids outside and on the water.
On the weekends, the students and Miller meet at Stump Pond in Smithfield. The kids also get to meet on Thursdays in the classroom and learn about what fishing equipment they should be using and how to catch a certain fish. The club uses weights to practice casting behind the school.
“A lot of the kids have different interests; they might not be the athletic ones playing on sports teams, so it gives them an outlet for something to be good at,” said Miller.
For now, the students practice fishing on ponds nearby, as fishing on the ocean is not feasible right now because of transportation.
A student member of the club became captain of the team with the expertise he already possessed. Dante Arpino, a 7th-grader at NCMS, said the club has given him the opportunity to explore new places and meet new people.
“I’ve always had a huge passion for fishing,” he told The Breeze.
Miller said he hopes this club will give other schools in the area the idea to start their own fishing club, so in the future, neighboring towns can coordinate meetups.
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